NASSER HUSSAIN: England’s Dom Sibley needs to add some style to his stubbornness… while Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence need to curb it a bit
- Dom Sibley showed stickiness at Lord’s but needs more strings to bend
- He was mentally strong to keep hitting with a unique technique, but he needs style
- Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence need runs with returning stars next week
I understand England entered this game without a few pillars of their middle class in Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. But it does give a decent look at some of the younger generation batsmen – and there must be one or two reasons for concern.
While Dom Sibley could add some strokes to his repertoire, both Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence need to learn to keep it in check a bit. In English conditions, against an attack as good as New Zealand’s, sometimes you just have to give half an hour or more to the bowlers.
If you don’t, you’ll see the kinds of shots that proved their downfall in this game – Crawley out for two big drives against Tim Southee, and Lawrence trying a cover drive more like mid-on.
Dom Sibley (L) needs to add some strokes to his repertoire after stubborn display in first Test
Sibley scored 60* on the final day – with his unique technique – but needs a little more style
There is much to be excited about in this new breed of English batsmen, but with Stokes and Buttler returning to the Test team later this summer, you have to say that both Crawley and Lawrence will need runs in next week’s second Test in Edgbaston.
In any case, Sibley grounded out on the last day after his duck in the first inning. I like the way he seems to fill the crease, and I appreciate that’s the way Chris Silverwood and Joe Root want to go – a top order that could set the game up for the stroke makers.
England have tried first-class dashers, and they haven’t worked. We can’t complain that we haven’t had openers since Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, then moan when one of them suddenly gets a little tacky.
But there has to be a balance between, say, Jason Roy and Sibley. And while Sibley clearly needs to be mentally strong to keep hitting the way he does with his unique technique, he still needs a few more strings on his bow.
Meanwhile, Zak Crawley (left) and Dan Lawrence (right) will have to run next week to save places
In any case, Rory Burns has proven what is possible when you bat in a quirky way. Being hit on the head five times, as he’s been in his testing career, and appearing unfazed by it says a lot about his resilience. I was very happy to see him make that hundred in the first inning.
I did find it a bit odd that England made absolutely no effort to chase the runs on the final afternoon.
It was an excellent statement from Kane Williamson, as he could have easily settled for a little bowling ahead of the World Test Championship final. Instead, he wanted to push his team.
So it was a shame that England never picked up the gauntlet. I thought they could have attacked until they lost four or five wickets, then shut up when they were afraid of losing.
Their problem is clearly that not enough of their batsmen felt good enough to challenge a 273 goal in 75 overs.
With Ben Stokes (pictured) and Jos Buttler returning this summer, they should both claim
Instead, the approach seemed to be that we just lost our last three tests in India, so we need to keep the ship steady.
I would like to say something about Ollie Robinson – the cricketer. I knew he would be impressive, but that was still an outstanding performance on his debut, both with bat and ball.
And he was a key part of England’s excellent bowling on the fourth night, when New Zealand could have easily been 50 for five, not 62 for two. That was as good a bowling stint as I can remember from a seam attack in England, and Robinson looked right at home.